Local primary school pupils turned into poets last week as ‘Speak up’, an annual performance poetry event for year 5 pupils from local schools, was hosted by The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL).
A whole school day was set aside for teams of four from six local schools and GSAL’s Junior School to work with professional poets from Leeds Young Authors- Khadijah Ibrahim, Paulette Morris and Rheima Robinson. They devised original poetry and studied published work on the theme of Yorkshire, in celebration of the arrival of Le Tour de France later this year.
In the evening the pupils performed at a ‘Poetry Slam’ in the theatre for their families and a panel of judges, who awarded prizes in three categories.
The team from Carr Manor Primary School wrote and performed their poem, ‘No one Knows this Land Like Me’ which won them the ‘Most Striking Line’ prize, whilst The Froebelian School won the ‘Best Performance’ award for their original piece ‘The Yorkshire Compass’.
GSAL’s Junior team of Maia Walker, Eshana Dasanjh, India Thompson and Niharika Chavan emerged as overall winners, for their performances of the Leeds Young Authors’ poem ‘True Grit’ as well as their own poem ‘Yorkshire Life’.
Khadijah Ibrahim, founder of Leeds Young Authors, said she was taken back by the talent on show and loved working with the children.
“This is my third year doing Speak Up and every year is amazing,” she said.
“It’s always enjoyable to work with these young people, who go home realising they have a voice of value and can express themselves.”
The judges were Alan Clayton, formerly of Education Leeds, Michelle Fox, a former head teacher and senior education advisor, and Russell Harvey, executive business coach and member of Leeds Young Authors.
Ben Rhydding, Cookridge, Little London and Beeston St Luke’s Primary Schools also took part in the event.